Several members of joint front of Democratic Mid-Day Meal Cook Front, Punjab, and Mid-Day Meal Daftri Mulazam Te Cook Workers' Union, Punjab, blocked the traffic for nearly one hour on Link Road and slip roads near Bhai Chatar Singh Park on Saturday.
The workers were protesting against the state government for not fulfilling their demands, which include increase in salaries and regularisation of posts. Long traffic jams were witnessed in the city due to protest.
Raising slogans against Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the members blocked slip roads adjoining the flyover to bus stand.
The protesters said cooks, who were responsible for preparing mid-day meal, were paid `1,200 per month and claimed that they were not being paid when there is vacation in schools. Besides, they also demanded insurance of `2 lakh to each cook.
Earlier on Saturday, the members from various districts gathered to participate in the state-level protest rally at Bhai Chatar Singh Park. The members had also requested the state government to arrange their meeting with the chief minister till 1.15 pm on Saturday and had even warned that they would block roads if any their demand was not met.
The protesters said they continued their protest for nearly an hour but were forced to end their demonstration when the rain got heavier. Former MLA Tarsem Singh Jodhan and some comrades, who were supporting the protest, said the government should pay salaries to cooks when there is vacation in schools.
A mid-day meal cook said: “I get `1,200 per month which is very less. The government should deploy one cook for 25 children as here a cook is preparing meal for several students.”
The members demanded that cooks should be given training at district or block levels. The government should provide free treatment to cooks who received injuries while cooking in schools, they said.
Harjinder Kaur Loppo, president, Democratic Mid-Day Meal Front, Punjab, said they had been facing harassment as the government had failed to fulfil their long-pending demands. While Parveen Sharma Jogipur, president, Mid-Day Meal Daftri Mulazam Te Cook Workers' Union, Punjab, said: “We will take up our demands with Punjab education minister Daljit Singh Cheema on December 23. We would gherao the Vidhan Sabha if our demands are not met.”
Residents face inconvenience
The city witnessed long traffic jams due to one-hour protest by the mid-day meal staff on Link Road which leads to Amar Shaheed Sukhdev Inter-State Bus Terminal. Residents heaved a sigh of relief when rain got heavier and members decided to end their protest.